Gordon Getty

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Gordon Getty
Gordon Peter Getty

(1933-12-20) December 20, 1933 (age 87)
OccupationBusinessman, investor, philanthropist, composer
(m. 1964; died 2020)
Children7, including Andrew
Parent(s)J. Paul Getty
Ann Rork Light

Gordon Peter Getty (born December 20, 1933) is an American businessman, investor, philanthropist and classical music composer, the fourth child of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. His mother, Ann Rork, was his father's fourth wife.[2] When his father died in 1976, Gordon assumed control of Getty's US$2 billion trust. His net worth was $2.1 billion in September 2020, making him number 391 on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.[3]

Early life[edit]

Getty was raised in San Francisco, California, attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory and University of San Francisco and earned a B.A. in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.[4]


He joined the oil business to please his father; however, he eventually sold the family's Getty Oil to Texaco in 1986 for US$10 billion. In 1983, Forbes magazine ranked him the richest person in America with a net worth of a little over $2 billion.[5] His net worth was cited as $2.1 billion in 2020, making him the 391st richest person in the United States.[6]

A noted philanthropist, in 2002, he donated US$3 million to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, a charitable trust. He is also a fundraiser for local and national Democratic Party candidates. He has contributed to the campaigns of Nancy Pelosi, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, and John Kerry.

In 2002, Getty founded ReFlow, a company which temporarily purchases shares in mutual funds to save funds taxes and commissions.[4][7]

Classical music[edit]

Among several professions, Getty is a classical music composer whose compositions include the opera Plump Jack, Joan and the Bells, piano pieces, and a collection of choral works. His one-act opera Usher House was performed by the San Francisco Opera in 2015. Aspiring to become an opera singer, Getty studied in the mid-1970s with Louise Caselotti, a mezzo-soprano who had been Maria Callas' voice teacher (1946–47). He and his wife have supported the fine arts, especially underwriting productions of the San Francisco Opera and the Russian National Orchestra.[8][full citation needed]

Getty's opera The Canterville Ghost was premiered on May 9, 2015, at the Leipzig Opera.

Personal life[edit]

On Christmas Day, 1964, he married Ann Gilbert (1941–2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada.[9][10]

On April 1, 2015, it was reported that Getty's son Andrew Rork Getty died at his home in Hollywood Hills of what was initially classified as natural causes, although coroner's officials needed to wait for the results of further examination and toxicology tests before making a final determination.[11] The coroner eventually ruled the death as accidental.[12]

Three of Getty's seven children, Alexandra, Nicolette, and Kendalle, were with Getty's then-mistress Cynthia Beck.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

Gordon Getty's life as a composer was chronicled in Peter Rosen's documentary Gordon Getty: There Will be Music which premiered on February 5, 2016, at Cinema Village in New York City [14] and has been broadcast on PBS in the U.S. and Europe on ARTE, and also appeared in film festivals, and programs across the country.[15]

Honors and awards[edit]

List of works[edit]

Cantata and opera

Chamber works

  • Traditional Pieces

Choral works

  • Annabel Lee
  • Ballet Russe
  • Beauty Come Dancing
  • La Belle Dame sans Merci
  • For a Dead Lady
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Old Man in the Night
  • A Prayer for My Daughter
  • There Was A Naughty Boy
  • Those Who Love
  • Three Christmas Carols
  • Victorian Scenes
  • Young America

Orchestral works

  • Ancestor Suite
  • Homework Suite
  • Overture to Plump Jack
  • Traditional Pieces

Piano works

  • Ancestor Suite
  • Andantino
  • First Adventure
  • Homework Suite
  • Scherzo Pensieroso
  • Traditional Pieces


  • Four Dickinson Songs
  • Hostess's Aria
  • No My Good Lord
  • Poor Peter
  • A Prayer for My Daughter
  • Where is My Lady
  • The White Election



  1. ^ Forbes profile
  2. ^ Byrne, Peter (April 2, 2003). "Bringing Up Baby Gavin". SF Weekly. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  3. ^ "Gordon Getty". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  4. ^ a b "#407 Gordon Getty". Forbes. 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
  5. ^ "Walton, Sam – Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: Sam Walton". Archived from the original on 2016-07-31. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
  6. ^ "Forbes 400 - The Definitive Ranking Of The Wealthiest Americans In 2020". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 2020-09-18.
  7. ^ Hibbard, Justin (2005-10-10). "How Gordon Getty Got To 'Aha!'". Business Week. Archived from the original on 2009-05-19.
  8. ^ San Francisco Chronicle
  9. ^ Roberts, Sam (September 19, 2020). "Ann Getty, 79, a Publisher and a Bicoastal Arts Patron". New York Times. 170 (58821). p. B12. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  10. ^ Times, Los Angeles (1999-08-31). "Gordon Getty's second family was an open secret".
  11. ^ Tami Abdollah (April 1, 2015). "Getty oil heir found dead wrote of serious health problem". Yahoo! News. AP. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  12. ^ "Andrew Getty died of haemorrhage, ulcer, bad heart and meth – coroner". The Guardian. Reuters. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  13. ^ Allen, Nick (2019-05-10). "Partner of Getty heir's former lover arrested over huge gun cache in Beverley Hills mansion". The Telegraph.
  14. ^ "How Music Helped Gordon Getty Escape His Family's Famous Curse". 9 February 2016.
  15. ^ https://www.facebook.com/ThereWillBeMusic/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ a b "Gordon Getty Biography – InstantEncore". www.instantencore.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  17. ^ atemkar (2015-10-05). "Gordon Getty, Composer and Philanthropist, Named USF Alumnus of the Year". University of San Francisco. Retrieved 2016-04-04.

External links[edit]